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Old 01-02-02, 09:38 PM   #1
mike
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Cool auto shifting device

This evening on my way home, I met an odd fellow who I frequently see walking past my house with arms full of groceries. The nearest grocery store is about two miles away. I often think, “now there is a guy who could use a good bike with a big rear carrier.

I introduced myself and asked him if he would like a bicycle. My intention was to give him one of the machines from my vast fleet of two-wheelers (I have near 60 bikes now).

He thanked me, but advised he already had a bicycle. It just wasn’t working because the “Autoshifter” was having some trouble.

“The auto What?” I inquired.

The next thing I knew, we were in his garage looking at his 30-year-old AMF ten-speed. Attached to the chain-stay frame and linked to the existing rear derailure was a queer device labeled “The Autoshifter”. He said that he bought it more than 20 years ago at a local department store!

It was a pretty clever thingamajig. It worked by the chain tension pushing against a cantilevered wheel. The position of the cantilevered tension wheel forced the derailure cable to pull or release, thus shifting gears.

He said that the chain kept coming off the cassette smallest sprocket. That was easy. I just tuned in the derailure stops – problem solved. Besides that, he said the Autoshifter worked great. I invited him visit me anytime he needs his bike maintained. Anybody who walks that much rather than driving gets on my free maintenance program.

Have you ever heard of the Autoshifter? I wonder how such a neat device could fade into our forgotten bicycle culture.

Last edited by mike; 01-03-02 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 01-02-02, 09:55 PM   #2
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My sister had an AMF Roadmaster (iirc) 10 speed in the early 80's. I never got to ride that bike, it was huge, and i was only 5

The only auto-shifter bike im familar with, are the ones sold on TV and in the mall, ugh, i cant say much about the auto shifting itself, but the bike must have weighed 45lbs. Id like to take a closer look at the AMF auto shifter, but i never see AMF bikes anymore, they must have gone under ~20 years ago.

Mike, when will we get a pic of your bikes!
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Old 01-03-02, 12:45 AM   #3
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I think that an autoshifter somewhat defeats the purpose of being a cyclist; you know, that feeling of total control over where you are going; like being a bird in flight.

It's the same reason that sports-car nuts (about fifth on my list of passions) like lightweight, non-power-steering, solid-link manual shifter vehicles. Because instead of isolating yourself from the experience, you revel in it.
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Old 01-03-02, 01:06 AM   #4
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60 bikes!!! Flippin 'eck. I thought I had enough with 4! Mike where do you keep them all?

Have Shimano developed something along the same lines as the "Autoshifter", a device that is supposed to change your gear at the most efficient time whilst peddaling?

I don't know, maybe its one for the novelty pile rather than your average cyclist.
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Old 01-03-02, 01:21 AM   #5
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I still can't understand why anyone would want an auto-shifting bike. I trust my legs to tell me when to shift far more than some mechanical device.
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Old 01-03-02, 09:02 AM   #6
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Originally posted by Weasel
60 bikes!!! Flippin 'eck. I thought I had enough with 4! Mike where do you keep them all? :eek
They are EVERYWHERE! As I often say, they hang from the rafters in my garage like bats AND, there are bikes underneath those.

My wife says most of them are junk, but I think they are all beautiful in their own way. I love each one of them. All of them are in ride-able condition except two.

Heck, my friend John has 200 bikes! They have taken over his garage and his basement. In fact, a lot of my bikes came from John.
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Old 01-03-02, 09:13 AM   #7
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Great story and a great gesture to the odd fellow.

Mike spreading bike love.
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Old 01-03-02, 09:16 AM   #8
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Great story and a great gesture to the odd fellow.



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Old 01-03-02, 09:54 AM   #9
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Thanks for sharing the story, Mike, and thanks for encouraging cycling and helping a cyclist in need. We have to remember that all of us are ambassadors for bicycling every day.
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Old 01-03-02, 11:48 AM   #10
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Thanks for sharing the story, Mike, and thanks for encouraging cycling and helping a cyclist in need. We have to remember that all of us are ambassadors for bicycling every day.
Nicely said, John. "We are all ambasadors for bicycling". It even feels good to say it.

Of course, it is easy to be generous when you are rich - and I am rich with bicycles.

It is a great source of joy to get someone on a bicycle and see them use it regularly. I don't mind giving a bike away or fixing a bike for free to someone who will use the bike. It just pains me to see people jump in the car to go to the corner store for a carton of milk or, worse yet, a pack of cigarettes. Do it on a bike, man!
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Old 01-03-02, 01:51 PM   #11
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Originally posted by mike
I don't mind giving a bike away or fixing a bike for free to someone who will use the bike.
Since you've offered. I'd like a heavy duty, single speed, full fendered cruiser.

What we here at the beach call a Strand Cruiser.

You really are the nicest guy in the world.
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Old 01-03-02, 02:45 PM   #12
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Originally posted by mike


It is a great source of joy to get someone on a bicycle and see them use it regularly. I don't mind giving a bike away or fixing a bike for free to someone who will use the bike. It just pains me to see people jump in the car to go to the corner store for a carton of milk or, worse yet, a pack of cigarettes. Do it on a bike, man!
I'm still trying to figure out how to buy you a beer over the Internet.
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Old 01-04-02, 06:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by mike
Have you ever heard of the Autoshifter? I wonder how such a neat device could fade into our forgotten bicycle culture.
Whether the Autoshifter caught on or not (I guess "not,") I love
innovation for it's own sake.
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Old 01-05-02, 11:38 AM   #14
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I like to shift for myself, too. But must admit, I sometimes forget to downshift and have an embarrassing (and sometimes scarey) moment getting up to speed. I would be interested in an autoshifter with two features:
1) You can turn it off and shift manually - on the fly.
2) You can adjust the crank RPM - also on the fly.

And, for the sake of getting more non-riders on bikes, an autoshifter may be just what some need. So I believe their is a market for a good product. Questions to you folks:

1 - Does anyone know of any other modern auto-shifter bike on the market (other than 'Auto-Bike' - as seen on TV)?

2 - If you know anyone that has an Auto Bike, do you know how well they actually work (and hold up)?

Thanks - Ken
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